Super 8 (M)

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The ViewAuckland Review

Review byTenani French9/06/2011

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 112 mins

The perfect blend of action, heart and timeless Hollywood magic, Super 8 gets everything right. Expertly acted, impressively directed and delivered with the care of someone who truly loves cinema and has a knack for storytelling. And it’s in 2D!

What's it all about?

Directed by JJ Abrams, Super 8 is set in 1979 and follows a group of kids (including a stunning performance by Elle Fanning) who are trying to make a zombie movie on a Super 8 mm film camera with would-be director Charles (Riley Griffiths) when they witness a horrific train crash. The story is told through the eyes of Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), whose father is the town’s deputy sheriff, Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler). The two are distant following the sudden accidental death of Joe's mother. Following the train crash the United States Air Force clean up the site and begin to evacuate the town without explanation. After a raft of unexplained events and disappearances, the townspeople begin to panic. Suspecting the crash was not an accident the youngsters develop their film from the night and discover what was being transported in the train was more shocking than they could have imagined.

Deputy Lamb also suspects the Air Force is hiding something and investigates the matter, much to the irritation of the General in charge, and is arrested. After being separated in the evacuation Deputy Lamb must travel back to the town, now teeming with tanks and soldiers, to rescue Joe after the kids set out on their own to confront the unknown threat.

The Good
The acting in this film is superb. Kyle Chandler plays a convincingly distanced father mourning the loss of his wife and frustrated at the lack of communication with his son. Elle Fanning plays the main character of the kid’s zombie movie and is pitch-perfect in her performance. Expect to see a lot more from this one. Newcomer Joel Courtney is also fantastic at the protagonist Joe Lamb, an innocent boy thrust into a nightmarish scenario.

Abrams’ script is fast-paced and intelligent but also lets the kids talk like kids, it’s a great balance between emotional character moments and action sequences. The soundtrack of this film cements the setting with one line of My Sharona, and the special effects propel the film forward, instead of defining it. Also of note: Super 8 is in glorious 2D only!

The Great
At the heart of this movie is a sense of cinematic wonder and a focus on relationships. Where other modern monster films place the focus squarely on the special effects and set-pieces, Super 8 slowly unravels to reveal a satisfying and heartfelt final act. Abrams is obviously inspired by filmmaking legend (and the film’s producer) Steven Spielberg and, in the style of Spielberg classics such as E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, reveals just enough of the creature to excite, without ruining the final unveiling. It is this restraint that pays off in the end, as the film avoids spoiling itself within the first act.

Worth seeing?
Super 8 is a product of two Hollywood powerhouses but will go down in movie history as a welcome and refreshing addition to the monster genre which reminds us why we love movies in the first place.

Film Trailer

Super 8 (M)
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Content updated: 20/09/2019 08:00

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